Prepare for the spectacle!

10:17 PM: THE END

6 PM:

Almost done. The big tax break bill passed without any senator standing to say a word except for Majority Leader Mo Denis. Seriously. How do members of both parties justify not explaining their votes on such a history-making (for good or ill) measure?

My guess is this silence does not happen in the Assembly.

We are outta here tonight, barring something unforeseen, he said, realizing he shouldn't be saying it.




4:30 PM:

Assembly not in, but I am told issues with AB2 (direct car sales) are resolved. We shall see. (Some other car folks had raised some issues.)

Senate in, has heard the big tax break bill, yet to vote. (Speeches must be written!) Now hearing the passed Assembly bills (1 and 3).

Half the lobbyists I trust say they can get done tonight; the other half tell me I will need one more suit. (I see a Saturday flight to Vegas in my future.)

Remember those skeptical comments I sent you earlier from Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, who was responding to a Democratic activist email thread? (Scroll down to the morning post, and you will see.)

Well, Rep. Dina Titus was copied, too, and responded, and not all positively for Tesla:

Like Chris I have some concerns. I hate losing the movie tax break and as a member of the Trensp Com, I wonder where the $100 million for the new road is coming from. We also need to insure these will be NV folks who get the jobs.

The entire Chris G. response, dsiagreeing with the activist who sent it and is a Tesla deal booster.


I must respectfully disagree with my neighbor. 
If it sounds too good to be true- it is. 
The projections of benefits won't be realized in our lifetime if at all. 
It's one business no ancillary business generated that truly diversifies anything. 
Their (sic) is no funding for elem school, HE, 
Mental health , senior programs but somehow 1.6 can be found? That's more than the County and / or state budgets I believe.
The majority of money generated is from So. NV yet almost none is reallocated to the South
There is no transition plan for when the project becomes obsolete
Why didn't APEX get considered?
No contributions to school budgets till 2018 I heard. Well impacts will be long before that!
Is the average salary including managers and supervisors?
Will residents that have lived here at least a yr be hired as locals rather folks who just move here
Will the project be prevailing wage?
These are some questions

Oh boy.

Do these people not get the concept of BCC on emails? Or....not care.

2:15 PM:

Going to be a long day and, yes, night. I don't think this is ending anytime soon. Why? Because it's the Legislature.

The Senate is back in, with the Dems playing Game of Holes. Will they keep digging or dig out? They seem to realize that they are in deep doo doo and are now talking about impact on schools and jobs, not how many extras Kevin James needs. Justin Jones and Debbie Smith are hitting the right notes now. "Yes, the whole world is watching," Smith said. But she emphasizes that education is most important issue for most.

Even after the Senate passes it (unanimously despite the Sturm und Drang?), the Assembly will take its time. No major land mines anyone sees. But that's the problem with land mines -- most of the time you can't see them.

Northern Nevada is beautiful on the weekend, too....




11:45 AM:

During the same week that the governor's economic development folks are asking for the biggest incentive package in history, it is much more quietly notifying Clark County about four different abatement plans that will get an aggregate $3 million-plus or so for four companies. They are getting long periods of cut-rate taxes, too. 

I have attached the details here in letters notifying the local government.

11:00 AM:

Defensive Dems update:

The governor's office believes he could issue a new proclamation adding any subjects, but state Sen. Justin Jones tells me he could not (or at least not amend it), which is why the Democrats tried to get him to put the school bond rollover in the original document. Jones sent me an opinion from LCB Counsel Brenda Erdoes -- start at the bottom for the full exchange:


I think that is an oversight – when the constitution was amended to add the ability of the Legislature to call itself into session, the provision that  allowed the Governor to add new topics as the special session progressed was removed. The language that you quoted was used in past proclamations to refer to that ability to add topics. When the Governor decided to add topics, he would send over a separate document that specified the additional topics. I copied in the section below and highlighted the deleted language regarding the additional topics. Since the Governor is now prohibited from adding topics during a special session, I think the language you quoted likely has no meaning or effect. Let me know if you have questions or would like more info. Thanks. Brenda


RESOLVED, That Section 9 of Article 5 of the Nevada

Constitution be amended to read as follows:

[Sec: 9. The]

Sec. 9. 1. Except as otherwise provided in Section 2A

of Article 4 of this Constitution, the Governor may on

extraordinary occasions, convene the Legislature by

Proclamation and shall state to both houses when organized,

the [purpose] business for which they have been specially

convened [, and the Legislature shall transact no legislative

business, except that for which they were specially convened,

or such other legislative business as the Governor may call to

the attention of the Legislature while in Session.]

2. At a special session convened pursuant to this

section, the Legislature shall not introduce, consider or pass

any bills except those related to the business for which the

Legislature has been specially convened and those

necessary to provide for the expenses of the session.

3. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the

Legislature shall adjourn sine die a special session

convened pursuant to this section not later than midnight

Pacific time at the end of the 20th consecutive calendar day

of that session, inclusive of the day on which that session

commences. Any legislative action taken after midnight

Pacific time at the end of the 20th consecutive calendar day

of that session is void. This subsection does not apply to a

special session that is convened to conduct proceedings for:

(a) Impeachment or removal from office of the

Governor and other state and judicial officers pursuant to

Article 7 of this Constitution; or

(b) Expulsion from office of a member of the

Legislature pursuant to Section 6 of Article 4 of this


4. For the purposes of this section, “midnight Pacific

time” must be determined based on the actual measure of

time that, on the final calendar day of the session, is being

used and observed by the general population as the uniform

time for the portion of Nevada which lies within the Pacific


time zone, or any legal successor to the Pacific time zone,

and which includes the seat of government of this State as

designated by Section 1 of Article 15 of this Constitution.

The Legislature and its members, officers and employees

shall not employ any device, pretense or fiction that adjusts,

evades or ignores this measure of time for the purpose of

extending the duration of the session.



From: Jones, Justin Senator 
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 12:23 AM
To: Erdoes, Brenda
Subject: Proclamation




The last paragraph of the Proclamation states: "The Legislature may also consider ... any other matters brought to the attention of the Legislature by the Governor during the special session." That seems rather broad. What would be required for something to be "brought to the attention of the Legislature by the Governor"?

I suppose the argument could be made that the issue of schools  is germane (the reason that Jones confirmed that language could not be amended into the original bill) because of the Tesla jobs' impact on the school systems. But once the governor said he would not put it in the original proclamation, what more could be done? Was the issue not dead?
I feared sectionalism would play a role here, and now I see it is so. And Kelvin Atkinson and I also had an exchange over the film tax credit move and the schools issue that you can see by looking at both of our feeds. He says the bill takes jobs from the South because of films being made there. The theory from the administration is that the governor provided bridge funding to cover projects in the mix. But, I understand, union officials say it is not enough. If so, why not raise those numbers BEFORE THE SESSION?
Some of Atkinson's feed:

@RalstonReports no, taking jobs from the south in this process is goofy! Fighting 4 what you believe in should b respected not ridiculed!


@RalstonReports I am and your comment about "assuring Sen. Ford long ago" is NOT accurate! If 6 days ago is long ago then maybe I'm wrong!


@RalstonReports I'll assume u made a mistake as it's Sen. Kelvin Atkinson D-NLV. U r correct, repairing schools was our 1st rejected offer!


DAY 2, 9:30 AM:

The Senate is in. The Assembly expected to be in soon. That's the good news.

After last night's Democratic debacle -- and I hear Kelvin Atkinson, D-NV Energy, is upset about my ripping the lack of leadership and calling them clowns (I thought that was mild), consider: The Dems made their play after the governor had long ago assured bill sponsor Aaron Ford that he needed the money now to bribe Elon Musk -- er, secure Tesla -- and that he would restore the money in 2015. (There was some disagreement about if there was enough money left to fund projects in the pipeline.)

Why not make the play for school funding? "Governor, we demand you amend your proclamation to have a bill to automatically allow bonds to roll over without voter approval." No, instead they make a play that would have to be upgraded to be called amateur hour?

I was surprised to see Debbie Smith leading the charge on this, too, including in a story by Ray Hagar that first disclosed the move. Many of those Tesla jobs will be in her district, and you would think the new president of NCSL and the de facto caucus leader would have forced the play for education, her signature issue. I suppsoe there is still time....

The bills should all pass relatively smoothly today, unless there are shenanigans. So....

One more thing: I was privy today to an email exchange in which Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, a former lawmaker, ripped the deal:

"If it sounds too good to be true- it is. The projections of benefits won't be realized in our lifetime if at all. It's one business no ancillary business generated that truly diversifies anything."
AFL-CIO sends out alert, too:


Danny L. Thompson, Executive Secretary Treasurer

9:30 PM

I was wrong. They are goofballs, the Senate Dems, that is. See my Twitter feed:

Here comes the Senate bill:…


Senate Dem mailer: "Hey, I held up a session to bring 6,500 jobs to Nevada so we could make more Mall Cop movies in Nevada. Vote for me."


.@GovSandoval just dispatched senior staff 2 tell #nvleg leaders that the answer to Senate Dems play is: NO. Gov's message: Need to move on.


Every time I think I'm out, they pull me back in. #nvleg


Senate Dems majority have no education plan. They have no good arguments against Tesla deal. But their hill to die for is a film tax credit?


Jon Ralston retweeted

#tesla tax bill ready for #nvleg. requires 50% of employees and construction workers to be Nevadans.


Jon Ralston retweeted

Here's @RGJRayHagar's take on the barrier to the #tesla deal. Film tax program:…


Film tax credit? Really? That's why the session is so slow. Genius. #Teslamania



9:00 PM

Assembly going to adjourn soon. Have heard their three bills. Senate may introduce big tax break bill later, but will not hear it tonight. Senators got to take day off. Lucky senators.

Last post for evening, unless something goes haywire.

Also, the Senate Ds are holding out for the film tax credit? Really, folks? This will get ugly -- watch the gov's office point out the efficacy of that boondoggle.


5:30 PM:

Assembly is hearing power rate reduction bill. Some are asking good questions; others just playing to crowd -- and the utility (Hey, they have elections to win after this is over.). Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick is patiently letting her folks ask questions, and many are asking good ones. But with two other bills, this will take awhile.

Senate bill, which is the big magilla, still not done. It has all the tax abatements, and you can be sure language and mischief-makers are the holdups. But this is the most important bill of the session, so, as one senator put it: "It could be late into the night. Gotta get it right."

The delay is over who is eligible for the tax breaks. The $3.5 billion investment threshold won't change, but the devil is in the details below that.

The Senate essentially has not met today, and may not meet until late tonight or Thursday. Did I mention I miss Bill Raggio?

Did I mention it's going to be a late night?

2:15 PM:

Both houses are in recess. Assembly members have been instructed to read the three bills introduced there. I'm told members already have a lot of questions, especially about the home office tax credit (it's going away) and the electric rate discount (always controversial). Look for Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick to make the process as transparent as it can look at this point, allowing the public to comment (there never is much) and allowing members to ask all of their questions. Also, don't look for a vote in the middle of the night -- doesn't look good and mistakes happen. If necessary, they will come back the next day to vote.

In the Senate, the major tax break bill -- the $3.5 billion threshold package -- is expected in a couple of hours. Highlights: Performance markers and regular audits. Only holdup will be if the education funding question becomes an issue on Senate floor, which will catalyze one-upsmanship and...make it go longer. That's why it's starting in the upper, more difficult house. (I'm also reliably told that Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick was blinsided by the education funding play by her Senate Dem friends, having been informed by....GOP Minority Leader Pat Hickey. Smooth.)

Looks like only four bills total. (That, of course, could change.) I set the over/under for departure at midnight Thursday and the total number of no votes on any of the bills at five.


1:25 PM: Both houses in and working, slowly but surely.

Guinn Center has policy paper up on incentives. Executive summary here. Full report here.

Bottom line: 

Based on our review of recent reforms and the literature on best practices, the Guinn Center 
proposes the following recommendations for Legislators to consider: 
Require that transferable credits (valued at $120 million) included in the Tesla tax 
incentive package are transferred at their original value (and not at a discount). 
Include clawback (recapture) provisions in the final agreement with Tesla. 
Include performance-based measures in the final agreement. 
Reduce sales and use tax abatements relative to property tax abatements, and lower the 
overall amount of sales and use tax and property tax abatements. 
Establish a government commission to monitor the contract and performance targets.
Establish a standing committee between Tesla and Nevada System of Higher Education 
to build the workforce pipepline. 


12:30 PM:

Still no legislative action and haven't seen the bill setting the $3.5 billion investment threshold to get the tax abatements. Switch had language drafted for its billion-dollar investment but couldn't get an exception. Nor could united Health (looking for help on the home office tax credit). Nor could school advocates looking for that bond rollover deal.

Looks as if Gov. Brian Sandoval acted like Will Parker talking to Ado Annie: "For me, it's all or nuthin." That is, everyone gets a deal or no one does. So, like a reverse Ado Annie, Sandoval was the guy who just said no. For now.

Switch is worried about competitive issues with Arizona, which lost Tesla and now has lowered its sales tax abatement threshold for data centers. So Rob Roy tried to get the deal so as to compete, according to documents I have seen. What was he looking for to compete with AZ?

Abatement down to 2% for sales and use tax of all data center related construction, customer collocated equipment and all other equipment related to the operation of data center until June 30, 2034

Up to 100% abatement of Real Property Tax until June 30, 2024

Up to 100% abatement of personal property tax until June 30, 2024

Up to 100% abatement of Modified Business Tax until June 30, 2024

But that looks like a no go.

So only holdup now is whether lawmakers face off over something to gain advantage in November. And no way will that occur, right? Watch the Senate.




T-minus 1 hour (until scheduled start):

PLAN, in letter to legislators, says deal is "far too risky." Letter is attached.

T-minus 2 hours (until scheduled start):

So last night some Senate Democrats made a play to have language included in the sepcial session to roll over existing school bonds (without voter approval), which would provide a huge boon for Clark County. I understand it was started by Justin Jones and pushed by Debbie Smith and others (remember the AB 46 debacle?).

Language has been drafted.

I can't see how that makes it into this special session. But maybe a second one? Oh joy!

I surely hope partisanship and sectionalism don't intefere.

And I'm told the governor has yet to sign off on such a plan, the damn northerner! (I kid, I kid.)

T-minus 3 hours (until scheduled start):

Follow my Twitter feed at @ralstonreports for constant updates but I will also update this blog as often as I can.

I smelled partisanship and sectionalism as soon as I walked in the building. The teetering state Senate is going to affect this session -- mark my words. And so will the needs of Southern Nevada -- just wait.

MGM has raised objections to the Switch deal -- the bill will be written so Switch essentially has to meet the Tesla standard, though, meaning a multibilliondollar investment. Switch boss Rob Roy has been lobbying since Tuesday. (His lobbyist is Gary Milliken.)

Tesla has hired the Griffin gang -- Josh and John (no relations) and Russell Rowe. So gaming must be OK with the Tesla part then since Boyd and MGM are represented here.

Just saw AFL-CIO's Danny Thompson: "I'm here to make sure Nevadans get jobs."




T-minus 12.5 hours:

Thr proclamation is out, a half-hour befroe the witching hour. Attached here.

Performance requirements for incentives, no business names, so could apply to....anyone.



T-minus 13.5 hours:

Two bill drafts for Tesla -- one on allowing the company to directly sell from the factory and the other an electric rate discount. They are attached below.

Still no proc, still no word on the Switch component, if any.



T-minus 16 hours:

No proc. No bills. Why?

Switch Communications is trying to get an incentive bill, too -- it wants a reduction in sales taxes to build a $750 million Southern Nevada facility and a $250 million Northern Nevada project. Here we go with the attempted piggybacks.




T-minus 22 hours:

To help with sales job needed this week to Gang of 63 (a k a political cover,) Governor's Office of Economic Development releases detailed analysis of Tesla's Nevada. (Hat tip to RGJ's Anjeanette Damon for the link.)


T-minus 23 hours....

Until 60 lawmakers or so polish up their green buttons to vote YES on THE DEAL of The Century, a k a "Tesla's Nevada," or Teslada for short.

Lawmakers are spending their last hours before capitivity doing two things:

1. Bothering lobbyists for money before tonight's blackout period descends.

2. Making sure EVERYONE realizes they want to know what their consitutents think.

The latter is funny not because I think they are just going through the motions (although many are) or that about 60 or so will eventually vote YES (How do you oppose something backed by Gov. Brian Sandoval and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid?). But how could voters understand this deal when there is so much incomplete or inchoate information out there, especially about the benefits gifted to Tesla.

The billion-dollar boondoggle (as I'm sure NPRI will call it soon) may not cost as much as that -- or it may cost more. That number, just like the $100 billion impact on the economy, are simply estimates.

No one, even Elon Musk, knows how many jobs will created, or how many batteries will be sold or how many square feet the gigafactory will be (15 million is the highest number I have heard, which makes it roughly the size of a small Nevada town).

Let me repeat something else: THIS IS A GAMBLE.

Sandoval knows it. Reid knows it. Musk knows it.

But it is one they are willing to take because of the potential payoff both tangible (jobs, money) and intangible (The New Nevada brand, renewable imprimatur).

I also still say ratifying is not rubber-stamping. I'd like to think lawmakers will just do their jobs, vet the package without hyperbole and grandstanding and take whatever time they need.

But if I thought that, you'd conclude I've lost my marbles.

This can't be done without the election backdrop, either. Early voting starts in 39 days, and the parties, especially in the upper house that is in play, will be looking for any votes to create an issue. (Cynical? No, reality.)

And you can be sure that many special interests and legislators who shill for them will be looking to attach ornaments to this Tesla tree. Just look at how many lobbyists already have registered for a session that is not even officially called yet. (No one has registered yet for Tesla. But with Reidoval, why do you need anyone else?)

The special should take a day or two, probably will take three -- experience begets resignation. But the key will be Sandoval and how willing he is to step out of his nice-guy comfort zone and ride herd over the Gang of 63 if they start fracturing and going too far off script. (I'm sure his pal, Prince Harry, would be only too happy to make a call or two if needed.)

There is a a lot of, ahem, incentive for them not to screw this up. But when has that mattered?